Going beyond the basics, however, it takes more than being a member in order to achieve the most you can from a support group. To gain the most benefits, your membership should translate into participation. And by participating actively in support groups, inevitably, you are bound to benefit in the following ways:
1. A support group is a forum for shared experiences.
First and foremost, support groups intend to bring together people who face similar life situations. These situations could either be personal challenges brought about by illness, disease, or addiction. They could also deal with relationship issues and major life changes such as loss or bereavement.
At any rate, brought together by having something in common, new members begin to open up by talking about their thoughts and feelings. Gradually yet voluntarily, you share your own experiences and learn from those of others. alexjenkins Just by knowing that the rest of you are practically in the same boat, you are encouraged to talk more freely and honestly. And for someone who is in a lot of pressure, stress, and anxiety, this can be very liberating!
2. Being a group lends strong emotional support.
Since situations like yours take a toll on your emotions, this is a key area in which you would need support. Offering steady support on an emotional level, a group addresses your needs beyond that which can be provided by your immediate circle of friends and family members.
In fact, you may even come to consider the group as an extension of your family. As friendships form and bonds develop, you all grow into deeper camaraderie. With greater ease and comfort, you no longer feel you are talking to a bunch of strangers; already, you know you are among friends.
3. Support groups give you that feeling of belonging.
In the hierarchy of human needs, a sense of belonging ranks third out of five different levels. In the same way and on a social level, any newcomer needs to be welcomed and accepted into a safe, relaxed environment.
With the right amount of compassion and understanding, this kind of environment can be very reassuring. Given the chance to speak freely, you will feel confident enough to discuss any condition. You will also feel less criticized, judged, and isolated.
4. Being part of a support group makes you feel less-isolated.
In real life, it does happen that you may encounter a certain stigma attached to your condition. For instance, people could be judgmental about you particular type of addiction, disease, or infection. This drowns you in a feeling of seclusion and isolation.
Before you get swallowed up by loneliness and depression, it helps to start being around people like you. More or less, these are people who understand exactly what you are going through. That in itself can be a big relief for anyone who has felt very much alone.
5. Joining a support group becomes an opportunity for validation.
The reason why most support groups are successful is because they can be very self-validating! Gathered together with other like-minded individuals, you are able to validate your own thoughts and feelings to be true, not only for yourself but for others too.
In real-time, here are people talking about your own fears, setbacks, and concerns. You are neither mad nor crazy after all. You are only in a phase of temporary struggle – something which you can surpass and overcome with a little help and, yes, with a lot of support.